5 January 2021

Garage sales an eco-friendly way to find treasure among trash

| Kim Treasure
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Mother and daughter at garage sale.

In 2020, the Garage Sale Trail program was impacted by COVID-19, but it was still a phenomenal success. Photo: Supplied.

Long before sustainability was a buzzword, poking your way through neighbourhood garage sales was high on the weekend entertainment list.

Finding treasure among someone else’s trash has a thrill all of its own, and many a student’s pad was kitted out with furniture found around the traps.

But 10 years ago a couple of bright sparks came up with the idea of collaborating on a community secondhand sale that diverted potential waste from landfill.

With a tagline ‘Don’t dump it. Sell it’ and a target of 30 garage sales on a designated weekend, Garage Sale Trail was born with 130 sales in Bondi, in Sydney, that first year of the event.

The program is now backed by more than 140 councils across the country, and, in 2019, there were more than 18,000 garage sales on the designated weekend, with more than 400,000 Australians hitting the streets to browse more than three million secondhand items. The average household made more than $300, with community groups and schools making a very healthy $1500 average.

As with everything in 2020, COVID-19 took its toll but there were still more than 5000 events in NSW alone on the event’s weekend in November.

READ ALSO 2020 Year in Review: A surprising twist in a year of bushfires and COVID-19

Nationwide, 111,596 people participated. With the theme ‘Choose to Reuse’, the event included 192 virtual sales and 1697 people participating in new online trail tutorial workshops.

Across the Snowy Monaro region, an estimated 12,600kg of quality pre-loved goods was rehomed during the weekend.

Thirty-three individuals and eight groups registered face-to-face sales from Jindabyne to Cooma and beyond, compared to the shire’s 2019 participation of 49.

“Well done to everyone involved in our region, buyers and sellers alike,” said Snowy Monaro Regional Council Mayor Peter Beer. “Garage Sale Trail is a fun campaign with a serious message. It’s about encouraging reuse and reducing waste, enabling local community connections and providing a platform for fundraising.

“Council is proud to play a part in making this important national initiative possible in the local area.”

Garage Sale Trail is supported by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and advocates for the responsible disposal of any unwanted items all year round.

READ ALSO Our pick of the best regional photos from 2020

“Buying and selling secondhand is one easy thing we can all do to reduce our impact,” said Edwina Lowe, Snowy Monaro Regional Council’s resource and waste education officer.

You can pre-register here for the Garage Sale Trail on 13-14 November, 2021.

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